Oliver Spencer Menswear Spring Summer 2016 London
At a time where the rules of menswear are being dramatically rewritten via theatrics and grand statements, it is easy to lose sight of the plot that makes men’s clothing unique in the first place. The faddish irreverence for the perimeters of the craft – like quality tailoring, utility and discretion – could easily backfire should seasonal novelties eventually die out, leaving men’s fashion distanced from the man on the street. Oliver Spencer’s collection today stood out by firmly positioning itself adjacent to savvy menswear brands like A.P.C. and Our Legacy. They belong to a genre of men’s labels that are rightfully unfazed by the temptation of becoming “runway designers” in the traditional sense: drama is allowed to make way for precision and quiet details. Spencer’s show reveals an important understanding that the true battleground for men’s fashion remains in the stores, where garments are held up to close scrutiny by discerning customers and to whom resonance with their lifestyles is key.
The tightly edited collection cleverly inspired by sculptor Richard Serra focused the spotlight on materiality, again highlighting what matters more to male consumers. Amid the rich yet versatile palette of burgundy, indigo, and military green, concrete grays and eggshell offer enough interest while remaining easy to integrate into existing wardrobes. The clarity of the collection also framed the hero pieces nicely; they include the supple brown suede Buffalo jacket, linen Seaford Parker, and relaxed judo pants. Street casting that included a variety of age demographics and ethnicities felt suitably inclusive.
It’s encouraging to see that while menswear is battling to broaden its horizons, bread and butter brands like Oliver Spencer are not lost in the mix. Focusing on lifestyles, providing value through tangible craftsmanship and quality materials, and striking the right balance between familiarity and newness, as seen today, will easily open up a whole new pool of loyal fans. The best part: Oliver Spencer managed to pull off the ineffably cool without even trying.